Luna’s Castle Address
Calle 9na Este 3-28
Casco Viejo, Panama
Tell the taxi: “Luna’s Castle en Casco Viejo, despues del mercado publico se sube la rampa y dobla a la derecha, Luna’s Castle es la segunda casa a la derecha.”
|Following Captain Morgan’s plundering of the Panama Vieja in 1671, stones from the ruins were used to construct the massive walls of Casco Viejo in 1673. Luna’s Castle, a colonial mansion built in 1905, rests upon this original city wall. Casco Viejo is the historic heart of Panama City. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998, Casco Viejo is the oldest city on the Pacific coast of the Americas. The past decade has seen major restoration projects spring up around the neighborhood. The contrast between old and restored, hallowed-out shells and luxury apartments, creates a unique charm that draws visitors to the area and makes Casco Viejo the cultural center of the city. Within one block you will find trees growing from dilapidated chimneys, elegantly restored colonial mansions adjacent to rotting wooden balconies and even the Presidential Palace. These days Casco Viejo is vibrant with restaurants and bars hosting a variety of live music, art exhibits and other events.||
Dining and Nightlife:
There are several restaurants and bars in Casco Viejo – ranging from economic to classy. Here are a few of Luna’s recommendations:
Casablanca offers tables on the edge of scenic Plaza Bolivar and occasional live music, which help make the slow service not so bad after all. The food is usually very good and well worth the prices, which range from around $4 to $12. Favorites include the bruschetta, the burgers and the ceasar salad.
Manolo Caracol is one of the most famous restaurants in Casco Viejo and for good reason. After being seated, they immediately begin bringing you plate after plate of delicious food, ranging from spicy prawns to crab cakes to handmade sausages. The decor is classy but doesn’t come off as pretentious. It is best to make a reservation if you are going for dinner, but for lunch, you’ll be fine just walking in. It is located on Ave. Central near the tourism police.
Café Coca-Cola has been a neighborhood staple for years here in Casco Viejo and is frequented by regulars who sit around talking politics and teasing the waitresses. Café Coca-Cola is definitely the best cheap food option in the area. It goes above its’ generic name and offers a range of typical Panamanian food as well as the basics such as pasta, salads, sandwiches, etc. Plates range from around $2 to $6. It is located on Ave. Central near the Parque de Santa Ana.
Relic Bar Search no further, one of the newest and hottest bars in Panama is right here below the hostel. Tucked away deep beneath the streets, enclosed in old stone walls, and lit with a delicate glow, this place of the past is infused with the spirit of the present. Surviving the passage of time is no feat unto itself. Doing so with the funkiness and audacity of the finist modern party is. Relic has become that party. Open Tuesday night through Saturday night 8:30pm to Late. Don’t miss our happy hour for guests between 9pm-10pm, $.50 beers and $1 mixed drinks. Thursday nights our Loud Art Event features local artists painting live all night. For other events and concert information at Relic please check out www.relicbar.com
Café Havana is a new addition to Casco Viejo, but is rapidly gaining popularity as the spot to go for a quick drink, a late bite to eat or just a spot to sit and chat with some friends. They offer one of the best mojitos in town with a raw sugarcane garnish to keep you from drinking it too fast. Located on Ave. B near the Plaza de Independencia.
Scena y Platea - This old world saloon is located in the heart of the night life in Casco Viejo, offering live Jazz and salsa on Thursdays and Fridays in a romanic and classy atmosphere. Keep in mind that you might want to put on that collared shirt,dress pants and your best shoes or you might feel a bit out of place. Music starts around 8pm, but get there early for the best seating and service. Across from the old Club Union on the waterfront.
La Casona de las Brujas is housed in an old bank building just down the street from Plaza Herrera and is best described as a bohemian, art-inspired, warehouse bar that offers one of the chiller bar scenes in the area. The scene ranges from art shows, live music to late night techno parties. The one problem is that they sometimes have trouble filling the place as they haven’t quite adjusted to the size of their new building. Open Wed-Sat but their best days are Friday and Saturday. They usually charge a cover.
Mojitos formally known as Los Baños Publicos is actually an old public bathroom which has been transformed into a bar resembling someone’s garage in college. The old records and CD’s hanging from the ceiling as well as their tattered couches help give this bar a personal feel. Los Baños consistently has live bands playing (not always great) and the cheapest beer in the area. Los Baños is located on Plaza Herrera which makes it a great bar to stop at on the way to or from La Casona.